DC GOP extends primary hours for Sabbath-observant Jews

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Republican Party in Washington, D.C., is extending its primary hours to allow observant Jews to vote.

Patrick Mara, the director of the District of Columbia Republican Party, told the Washington Post in a report posted on the newspaper’s website Monday that the party would extend voting this Saturday to 9 p.m., five hours later than the scheduled finish.

Voting will move at 4 p.m. from a ballroom at the Loews Madison hotel to a smaller room in the same hotel. Those who vote after 4 will have to sign a document swearing they are observant Jews.

Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld had made representations to the party about the Saturday voting, saying it would discriminate against voters among his congregants at Ohev Sholom, an Orthodox synagogue in the district.


Both parties have run or are set to run Saturday nominating contests in 11 states and a number of territories. Jewish groups last month complained to the Nevada state Democratic Party about its Saturday caucuses, which effectively excluded Sabbath-observant Jews in a state with a substantial Jewish community.

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